Edward Snowden has recommended the public take a greater interest in secure products and avoid public products like Dropbox, Facebook and Google.
Speaking at the New Yorker Festival, Snowden said that there is a problem in the way that people do not feel that they have anything to hide, as they are “inverting the model of responsibility”. He said that if this is the attitude, we will get where Government’s do not have to justify their actions.
He blamed companies who “are willing to collaborate with any Government to compromise the security of their products and services”, and said that they do not deserve to be trusted. “If they do it for one Government they will do it for another and if the company makes an exception for the United States Government, they will have to do the same thing for the Indian, Chinese, Russian and French Governments, or they will be sanctioned in that country and will not be able to get licensed and regulated.”
Asked how he would suggest people protect themselves online, Snowden recommended people recognise that technologies which are designed to bring us closer together are often subverted.
“What can an ordinary person do? First search for encrypted communication programs as they simply enforce that your transmissions are protected, and also drop problems that are hostile,” he said.
“Get rid of Dropbox as it does not support encryption and doesnt protect you or your private clients, instead use something like SpiderOak that does the same thing but uses encryption to protect you and what you are sharing. Same thing with Facebook and Google, they have made strides to increase their security and getting better thn hve been but still not safe and dangerous.”
Snowden called for greater support of secure products and services, and also recognise that technology has not been developed with security at its core or that it has been made easy to use, and we have got to support efforts and research. “There are solutions and way forward and got to say an effort way to do it.”
Speaking on last summer’s leaking of details of NSA mass surveillance, Snowden said that the action was critical and if he had not done it, “someone else would have”.
Asked what his legacy will be, he said he would leave it to the historians as his intention is to work to change things and infringements of our rights are not evidence of the challenge to our democracy.
“We will continue to face new challenges and new threats and we will continue to have Governments who want to go the extra step and grant themselves extra power,” he said.
“But we see more and more people being sceptical to claims made by organisations, foundations and Governments and it is a sign of renaissance of critical people which will allow us to have a better society and continue to say ‘that sounds reasonable but it does it make sense’.”